April 8, 2008

IDC bullish on Linux in the enterprise

Author: Joe Barr

IDC analyst Al Gillen, who is giving the opening keynote at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit kicking off today in Austin, Texas, is expected to cite figures from an IDC white paper entitled "The Role of Linux Servers in Commercial Workloads" that show that Linux has done well and proved itself in the enterprise, and is expected to continue that trend through 2011.

The white paper notes that Linux is growing beyond its initial usage roots in the enterprise, where it provided basic infrastructure components such as Web, print, and DNS servers, networking, and security services. The paper also states that while overall spending in the Linux ecosystem amounted to $21 billion in 2007, IDC expects that figure to more than double over the next four years.

Fueling that growth, IDC says, are the new uses being found for Linux in the enterprise. Quoting the study, "Additional workloads, including database, enterprise resource planning, decision support, and general business processing, are steadily advancing their share of total workload deployments."

IDC forecasts the overall spending on hardware, software, and services for Linux to increase 25.2% annually through 2011. The company projects spending on just the Linux software operating environment to grow at a 35.7% clip over the same period.

IDC attributes most Linux growth to date to migrations away from proprietary Unix machines rather than Microsoft platforms. The study says possible challenges to Linux may come from OpenSolaris on the Unix side as well as from Microsoft.

Per the study, IDC's expected migration paths in various sectors shows Linux beating Windows by substantial margins as the destination platform of choice in the government/education, financial services, and general services market segments. Windows and Linux are expected to grow equally -- with both trailing Unix -- in the media/publishing market, while Microsoft is expected to continue its dominance in the retail/wholesale, manufacturing, and health care segments.


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